On June 3, the US Supreme Court ruled in Maryland v. King, by a 5-4 vote, that collecting DNA from individuals arrested for serious crimes was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.  Three days later, the Senate passed legislation allowing for the collection of DNA from any person arrested for a variety of offenses, including some banking violations. Under current Rhode Island law, DNA can only be collected from individuals convicted of certain felonies; the ACLU testified that collecting from individuals who have merely been arrested for a crime undermined the presumption of innocence and was a dangerous step towards the creation of a comprehensive DNA database.  Additionally, the ACLU argued, such an expansion of DNA testing would place a significant burden on the Department of Health, exacerbating an existing backlog and delaying justice in those cases where DNA is a critical investigatory element. The legislation died when it failed to receive a vote in the House Judiciary committee.Read our written testimony here.


Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy and Senator David Bates





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